Pasta Is the Most Underrated Taco Filling
NoPa & The Mission
"More for sentimental reasons, but Papalote is our favorite. We lived right across the street when we first moved to San Francisco, and we were so incredibly broke at the time. When I say broke, I mean really broke -- like negative amounts in our bank account broke. The great thing about Papalote’s burritos is that they’re so big, we could either split one between the two of us or each get one and have half for dinner that night and save the other half for lunch the next day. I always got chicken, Evan got veggie." -- Sarah Rich, Rich Table
Lower Nob Hill
"Personally, my favorite burrito right now is from Taqueria Los Hermanos, in the liquor store called Mid City Market and conveniently right next door to Huxley. I order the California burrito al pastor -- it’s got fucking french fries in it, come on. Plus, it’s in a liquor store, so to me, it's a one-stop shop! Since it's located right next to the restaurant, I eat one at least four times a week (and sometimes twice a day depending on how my night at HA-RA went). This one is a definite go to for my burrito cravings." -- Manfred Wrembel, Huxley
"Kung pao pastrami burrito from Mission Chinese delivered to my apartment through Caviar when I'm hella hung over." -- Ryan Pollnow, Aatxe
"I love the 'crispy burrito' at La Taqueria on Mission. It isn’t on the menu -- you have to ask for it -- but it’s the best. I always get the carne asada, with beans and just a little rice, which is my favorite. They assemble it and then put it on the comal, turning it occasionally until it’s crispy, golden, and fantastic!" -- Joanne Weir, Copita Tequileria y Comida
"I generally get the lengua burrito from La Taqueria. They marinate and season their meat really well, and don't use rice. Also, it is a reasonable size so the ratio of beans, sauce, meat, and tortilla are proportionate." -- Mourad Lahlou, Mourad & Aziza
"La Taqueria doesn't have rice in the burrito, which makes it really amazing. Plus, they braise their carnitas pork in Coca-Cola, which stops the bus. It is the best, simple burrito in the city and, probably, the nation to be honest." -- Aaron Toensing, Spaghetti Brothers
"La Taqueria is one of my favorites -- a solid burrito spot, and the flavor is spot-on. The carnitas is delicious." -- Chef Paul Piscopo, PABU
"When I'm hankering for a burrito, it's the off-menu shrimp and carne asada super burrito with no rice from El Gran Taco Loco. I never get rice because the burrito itself is already too filling." -- Tim Archuleta, ICHI Sushi + NI Bar
Lower Haight, Noe & The Mission
"I love the fact that they use smart choices when it comes to local product and sustainability but it’s still a kick ass burrito. If I’m there early I like to get the salmon tacos -- they are light, and straightforward. If I’m super hungry or curing a hangover, I like to stick to the super burrito with 4505's chorizo -- it brings me right back to life, and I don’t feel guilty for doing it. Everything is well seasoned, and super fresh. It's an honest taqueria doing a great job." -- Tony Ferrari, Hillside Supper Club
"The Chile Relleno Burrito at Green Chile Kitchen reminds me of a Trujillo from Taos. It’s good because hatch green chile is the single best chile on earth." -- Jason Ryczek, Farallon
"As a family, one of our favorite local burrito spots to visit is Taqueria La Cumbre. I always get the grilled chicken burrito -- with no frills, sauce, or cream." -- Gayle Pirie, Foreign Cinema
"I love the spicy shrimp burrito at El Toro because of the quality -- they use fresh ingredients, and the food is really good." -- Adam Sobel, MINA Test Kitchen
"Having grown up in San Diego, I've always had issue with the style of burritos up here, but usually I go to Cancún, on Mission/19th. I order a carne asada, with only cheese, avocado, and salsa, then ask them to make it 'el dorado,' which means they roll it on the plancha, and make it golden on the outside. Closest thing to home and I get to skip on all the fussy rice, etc." -- Jesse Koide, Pink Zebra
"I enjoy Cancún because it has a good ration of rice, beans, and avocado. Something that puts it over the top for me is their salsa -- nice and spicy -- and I like waiting for my number with some good chips. Also Cancún is right in Commonwealth’s neighborhood, and sometimes after service, I need a late night bite. Cancún is just a top notch Mission burrito." -- Michael Evans, Commonwealth
"I'm more of a taco guy but when I feel the need for a burrito (i.e., when I have a hangover) I like Cancún on Mission St." -- Craig Stoll, Delfina
"The Al Pastor at El Farolito seems like an easy bullshit answer, but that’s because it’s probably the best burrito in SF." -- Jason Ryczek, Farallon
"When I am feeling un-health... well let’s just say not as healthy, I love me some El Farolito at 24th and Mission. They have been knocking it out of the park ever since I can remember. It’s the size of a baby, and you feel slightly ashamed when you finish it, but not so much as to leave any on the table!" -- Mat Schuster, Canela Bistro & Wine Bar
"My favorite spot for burritos is El Farolito. I’m all about the cabeza (head), lengua (tongue) and sesos (brain). Great ingredients that you can usually only find in fine dining restaurants (or great Mexican/Asian restaurants). El Farolito is incredibly casual, fun, and consistent." -- Jennifer Puccio, Marlowe/Park Tavern/The Cavalier
"To be honest, El Farolito is normally a post bar-3am dining spot for me, though I must admit I haven’t been in a while (I'm a bit more responsible now). I always order the "super quesadilla suisa el pastor." It’s pretty much a burrito -- it’s huge. I think "suisa" means super so I usually get a laugh out of the guy at the counter because I am basically ordering a super super." -- Erik Lowe, Spaghetti Brothers
1. Papalote Mexican Grill3409 24th St, San Francisco
2. Los Hermanos Taqueria868 Geary St, San Francisco
3. Mission Chinese Food2234 Mission St, San Francisco
4. La Taqueria2889 Mission St, San Francisco
5. Little Chihuahua292 Divisadero St, San Francisco
6. El Gran Taco Loco3306 Mission St, San Francisco
7. Green Chile Kitchen1801 McAllister St, San Francisco
8. Taqueria La Cumbre515 Valencia St, San Francisco
9. El Toro Taqueria598 Valencia St, San Francisco
10. Taqueria Cancun2288 Mission St, San Francisco
11. El Farolito2779 Mission St, San Francisco
Nicer than the average hole-in-the-wall Mission taqueria but still super casual, Papalote serves up traditional tacos, quesadillas, and burritos in a sit-down counter-order space. Packed tight with rice, beans, pico de gallo and your choice of meat, the ginormous burritos are the definition of bang-for-your-buck and can easily be split between two people. Make sure you complement your order with plenty of chips served with the restaurant's signature roasted tomato salsa, which counts Bobby Flay as one of its many fans.
Located inside Mid City Market liquor store in Nob Hill, this hidden gem of a taqueria serves up quality tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and similar tortilla-and-cheese creations. The unassuming counter-serve is easy to pass over but that'd be a shame because it's a one-stop shop for grab-and-go lunch, dinner, and late-night eats. Stuffed with fries, the California al pastor burrito is in a league of its own.
Though Danny Bowien's since expanded with two NYC locations, the original SF Mission Chinese, which he opened inside a rundown Chinese restaurant in 2000, started it all. The creative Mission eatery takes an interesting spin on classic Chinese dishes. You’ll find the usual suspects like Mongolian long beans, ma po tofu, and sesame chicken, but the real showstoppers are his fun spins on classics. Kung pao pastrami, thrice-cooked bacon and rice cakes, and kung pao burritos are far from forgettable.
This no-frills taqueria is home to the best burrito in America. The Mission-style burrito has a healthy dose of meat, cheese, beans, homemade hot sauce, salsa, and no rice. The place has been around for 40 years and if the daily long lines are any indication, they're doing something right. Ask for your burrito "El Dorado-style" to get your rice-less bundle of joy thrown on the grill until the outside is golden brown and the inside has melted to perfection.
With locally sourced, sustainable ingredients and sizes for every taste (from regular to "super baby"), this burrito joint can't be kept under wraps. Especially when filling options range from 100% grass fed carne asada, salmon, refried pinto beans, and chorizo, to vegetarian black beans.
Of all the counter-serve taquerias in the Mission, El Gran Taco Loco stands out for its quick, reliable, and cheap burritos, tacos, and tortas. When you have a hankering for soul-warming Mexican, look no further than their massive super burritos, and if you don't mind a little mess, order your burrito smothered in enchilada sauce. The space is fast-food basic with laminated tabletops and formica booths, but there are pretty cool murals of walking tacos and the Virgin Mary.
Green Chile Kitchen sets itself apart from San Francisco's crowded landscape of casual Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants for its unique New Mexican food. More than a counter-serve (you order at the counter but servers bring your food to your table), the all-day NoPa spot is seemingly always crowded, and for good reason. The menu features traditional New Mexican chile stews, tamales, stuffed poblanos, enchiladas, plus rotisserie chicken roasted with the signature green chile citrus rub. GCK is the perfect mix of healthy and hearty that'll keep you hooked.
Taqueria La Cumbre in the Mission is one of the few places where you can get the same high-quality burrito at 2:30pm and 2:30am. The traditional counter-serve taqueria delivers on both the cheap and late-night eats front. The burritos come in multiple sizes -- super, deluxe, regular, and petite -- and styles -- fajita, all meat, prawn & steak, vegetarian falafel, and so much more. The options are endless and the portions are huge, so it's best to go when you're either starving or drunk.
A Mission standby, El Toro Taqueria builds your burrito Chipotle-style, meaning you point and choose which ingredients you want and watch as the server combines them all in a foil-wrapped tortilla. The ingredients are extra fresh (we're not just saying that, they really do taste fresh) and the fast-casual space is super clean. The prices are cheap and the portions hefty, so this place is essentially the perfect taqueria.
One of the best purveyors of burritos in the Mission (which is saying something), Taqueria Cancun doles out superb burritos, tacos, and tortas. It's hard to choose between tacos and burritos, and while you definitely don't want to miss the carne asada or carnitas burrito, you don't want to pass on the al pastor super tacos either. They're packed with so much pork, pineapple, avocado, and other tasty goodness that they're basically mini burritos. The casual spot is jam-packed for both lunch and late-night eats (it's open until 1am on weekdays, 2am on weekends).
Figuring out which taqueria to go to in the MIssion can be tough, but you can’t go wrong with El Farolito, one of the neighborhood's OG burrito havens, which happens to also be within perfect stumbling distance of numerous bars and the 24th Street BART. The super burrito is where it’s at, with a hefty dose of rice, beans, salsa, guac, sour cream, and whatever delicious meat you choose (carne asada is a good call).